India has accelerated its efforts to improve the business climate during the past year, finds the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business measurement.
Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency, released yesterday, captures reforms implemented in 189 countries in the period June 2, 2014 to June 1, 2015.
India ranks at 130 out of 189 economies in the world in this year’s report (ranked 142 in Doing Business 2015), marking a significant shift in trend after several years of decline in ranking.
The report highlights two reforms that India has implemented during the past year. It was able to amend the Companies Act in just under six months and made starting a business easier by eliminating the minimum capital requirement and the need to obtain a certificate to commence business operations, saving entrepreneurs an unnecessary procedure and five days’ wait time. In both Delhi and Mumbai the process for getting an electricity connection was made simpler and faster. The utility in Delhi made the process for getting an electricity connection simpler and faster by eliminating the internal writing inspection by the Electrical Inspectorate. At the same time, the utility in Mumbai reduced the procedures and time required to connect to electricity by improving internal work processes.
“This year’s improvement in ranking marks a significant shift in trend after several years of decline. With sustained reforms, India can make significant improvements in its rankings in the next few years. Countries such as Russia and Rwanda, who have witnessed dramatic improvements in their ranking in the past 3-5 years, started with more modest changes in the initial years. Russia, which improved its rank from 123 in DB 2011 to 51 in DB 2016, had moved just three places in the first year,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.
The report also highlights a number of reforms already underway in India which were not fully felt by the majority of businesses by June 1, 2015 but will help India further improve its rank in the coming years. In particular, it notes India’s efforts to streamline the process of obtaining a construction permit in Mumbai, and new systems for e-filing and e-payment of taxes. Ongoing efforts to introduce and enact the Bankruptcy Code, movement on operationalizing commercial benches and courts in Delhi and Mumbai, efforts to introduce automation in judicial processes in courts, further digitization of land records, and integration of registration and mutation processes, and introduction and launch of National Single Window for trade may also help India improve its rank in future.
If the efforts are sustained over the next several years, they could lead to substantial benefits for Indian entrepreneurs—along with potential gains in economic growth and job creation, the report states.
This year’s report unveils a two-year effort to significantly add more measurements of the quality of institutions supporting the business environment, to better capture realities on the ground. For example, in the area of Registering Property, a new index
on the quality of land administration measures the reliability, transparency and geographic coverage of land administration systems as well as aspects of dispute resolution for land issues.